The typical PC user will/should need to install a patch for some piece of software on their machine an average of every 5 days this year, says Brian Krebs, of Technology Review. This number was based on research done by Secunia, a security-focused company based in Denmark, who collected information on over 2 million PC users over several years.
Microsoft has made it pretty easy for users to select the option to automatically update our computers whenever an update is pushed out, but most typical users don’t think about updating the other software on their systems. For example, Adobe has been plagued the last couple of years with many flaws and vulnerabilities in their popular Reader, Flash, Shockwave and Air programs. Browsers need to be updated regularly as well as Java, Skype and a multitude of other software programs on our systems that we may not use regularly and don’t think about them needing updating.
So what’s a typical user to do? Go to Secunia.com and run their free and fast OSI–(OSI-on-line software inspector). It scans all the programs on your computer and then it’ll give you a list of all the programs needing updating or patches. The best part is Secunia provides a link to download all the patches you need to get your system up-to-date!
I’ve run it on all my computers – here’s a result of one of my scans – looks like I need to update my Adobe Flash Player. So I downloaded and installed it. I went back a day or so later and checked it again. They said I still needed to update my flash player. This time, I went in the control panel and uninstalled the existing Adobe Flash player and plug in. Then I installed the freshly downloaded Flash Player–and got the same message. So I’ll have to keep working on that.
Or, you could try Secunia’s PSI (personal software inspector), a download to your computer and run your scans from there.
Secunia also publishes an advisory page which lists the newest vulnerabilities. This page looks like it’s updated hourly. The page also offers a searchable database if there’s something in particular you want to research, or you can scroll through the extensive list of vendors to see what the newest threat is from using one of their products.
They make their living from selling their products to corporations, but they’ve made doing a scan or downloading their personal software free for individuals. So there’s no reason to not run their scanner and take a few minutes to fix/patch your system.